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These boutique hotels opened in Houston last year — and there’s more to come

Houston Business Journal | 01.22.2018

Houston has two hotels with at least 1,000 rooms — both next to the George R. Brown Convention Center — but the city's newest boutique hotels don’t even break the 300-room mark. 

Le Meridian Downtown, Hotel Alessandra and Hotel ZaZa Memorial City all debuted last year — and they’re not your typical La Quinta or Holiday Inn. Click through the gallery above to see photos of the hotels.

Le Meridian opened Sept. 12, delayed a few days thanks to Hurricane Harvey, in the renovated Melrose Building at 1121 Walker St. It has 21 stories, 255 rooms and about 8,000 square feet of meeting space, a rooftop pool and patio as well as Oxbow 7, Chef Bryan Caswell’s latest restaurant, according to Downtown Houston’s website.

However, Caswell and his wife recently were released from their contract overseeing Oxbow 7; the rooftop lounge, Hoggbirds; and Le Meridian's banquet and room services.

The Melrose Building, which is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was Houston's first skyscraper built in the International Style, a modern design will little ornamentation. Houston architects Hermon Lloyd and William B. Morgan designed the building, which opened in 1952.

After sitting empty for nearly 20 years, building permits were granted to convert the office building into a hotel. It was renovated with a nod to the 1950s original style, per Le Meridian's website. Memphis, Tennessee-based Development Services Group Inc. was the developer. 

Next came Hotel Alessandra, which opened on Oct. 2. Located at 1070 Dallas St., it features 223 rooms on 20 floors. Amenities include a fifth-floor pool deck and patio, a spa, ballroom space and a European-themed second-floor restaurant.

The hotel's main lobby and check-in desk — as well as a 1920s-era bar and lounge area — greet guests once they ascend a wide, marble staircase. Rich greens, crimsons and lavish gold accent the hotel's numerous common areas.

Houston-based Midway Cos. and Houston-based Valencia Group developed the hotel. Its interiors were designed by Houston-based Rottet Studio, and San Francisco-based Gensler designed the hotel's exterior.

And lastly, there’s Hotel ZaZa Memorial City, about 12 miles away from Le Meridian and Hotel Alessandra, which are both in downtown Houston. Hotel ZaZa’s second Houston location officially opened Dec. 8 with 159 rooms, including the signature “Magnificent Seven” themed suites. It also has 13,000 square feet of meeting and event space, a spa and The Tipping Point restaurant.

Hotel ZaZa was developed by MetroNational in partnership with Z Resorts LLC and offers several uniquely themed hotel suites, such as French Connection, Asian Beauty, Passage to India, Black Gold and The Godfather.

Meanwhile, the top floors of the hotel will house The McCarthy, a Class A multifamily development that offers 133 residential units.

Greater Houston has quite a few more hotels that are expected to deliver this year:  

The Post Oak at Uptown Houston, 250 rooms, to deliver in March.
Marriott CityPlace, 337 rooms, to deliver in November.
Hyatt Place Hotel in the former Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. office building, 150 rooms, to deliver in December.
AC Hotel by Marriott in the former Houston Bar Center, 195 rooms, to deliver in the fourth quarter, according to information compiled by Central Houston in August.

A recently unveiled economic plan for downtown Houston calls for an additional 4,000 hotel rooms in downtown and east downtown with the 20-year goal of having 12,000 hotel rooms in downtown, 8,000 of which are within a 10-minute walk of the George R. Brown Convention Center.